What are the benefits and side effects of tongkat ali?

What are the benefits and side effects of tongkat ali?

A common Asian treatment for male sexual performance is Tongkat ali. This plant is also used by advocates of traditional medicine to help cure other illnesses and health problems.

Promising research has been conducted into the properties of Tongkat Ali. However, if they have any health problems or are taking particular drugs, people should be careful about trying it.

Read on to learn more about the common uses of Tongkat Ali and what the scientific evidence suggests about its possible benefits and side effects.

What is tongkat ali?

tongkat ali

A shrubby tree native to Southeast Asia is Eurycoma longifolia, or tongkat ali. Malaysia, Indonesia , and Vietnam are indigenous to the plant. In regions of Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand, some species of the plant also grow.

Literally, Tongkat ali means “Ali’s walking stick,” which refers to its aphrodisiac impact. The “stick” refers to the long, twisted roots of the plant that some groups harvest for their medicinal value, some people claim.

Additional common names for E. Longifolia is Long Jack, ginseng from Malaysia, and Ali’s Umbrella.

In fact , there are three other species of plant that people may refer to as tongkat ali. These are apiculata from Entomophthora, bullata from Polyalthia, and Goniothalamus.

However, this article will concentrate on E. longifolia.

Historical uses

Within Asia, E. longifolia is a well-known aphrodisiac and malaria remedy. Individuals prefer to make remedies using the flowering plant ‘s roots, bark, and fruits.

As shown in a 2016 review, in traditional medicine, individuals use E. longifolia to relieve the following conditions:

  • sexual dysfunction
  • malaria
  • high blood pressure
  • anxiety
  • intestinal worms
  • diarrhea
  • aging
  • itching
  • dysentery
  • constipation
  • exercise recovery
  • fever
  • diabetes
  • cancer
  • jaundice
  • lumbago
  • indigestion
  • leukemia
  • aches and pains
  • syphilis
  • osteoporosis

The same review concluded that E. Longifolia is, for some conditions, a promising herbal remedy. There is insufficient data, however, concerning its protection and efficacy.

The plant roots are often used by individuals to stimulate appetite and enhance strength and energy. They are used as an antibiotic among some.

Traditionally, people drank the plant with a water decoction. Nowadays, though, there are many E. Longifolia products, including powders and capsules, are available.

The plant includes several compounds that are bioactive, including alkaloids and steroids. The main active compound in the roots are quassinoids.

The plant is known by herbalists as an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a herb that allows the body, including physical, chemical , and biological stress, to adapt to various types of stress.


For some circumstances, Tongkat ali can have health benefits. Some of these requirements will be looked at in more detail in the following pages.

Male fertility and sexual performance

Some research indicates that E. Longifolia can improve the fertility and sexual performance of males.

Animal and human research indicate, according to a 2016 study, that the beneficial effects could include:

  • increased semen volumes, sperm count, sperm viability, and sperm motility
  • increased production of testosterone
  • enhanced erectile function and sexual performance

A research in rats in 2019 showed that the aphrodisiac effects of E. Longifolia may be attributed to elevated levels of testosterone and increased brain dopamine levels.

Ergogenic aid

Athletes sometimes use ergogenic aids to enhance their performance. E. longifolia may act as an ergogenic aid because it decreases stress and increases testosterone levels, according to one 2016 review.

With high dosages and long-term supplementation, the researchers concluded that E. In relation to endurance performance, longifolia might have some benefit.

A 2014 pilot study in physically active individuals aged 57-72 years reported increased muscle strength and testosterone rises following E supplementation. An extract of longifolia for 5 weeks.

Bone health

A 2018 review examined the evidence for E. Longifolia in rats with osteoporosis. This concluded that E. Longifolia seemed to be less successful than other typical herbs from Malaysia.

However, according to the study, there may still be scope for its use in the prevention of bone loss.


Stress hormones in 63 people taking tongkat ali extract or placebo for 4 weeks were evaluated in a report in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

In individuals taking the extract, the researchers saw important improvements in frustration, tension, and uncertainty. The levels of testosterone grew and the levels of the stress hormone cortisol decreased.

They concluded that tongkat ali could be an effective cure for chronic modern-day stress, sleep deprivation, and preparation for exercise.

Another 2018 research looked at the cumulative impacts of E. In moderately stressed but otherwise healthy participants, longifolia and multivitamins. Enhanced vigor and emotional well-being were reported by the participants. Glucose concentrations also reduced, which may also have led to the well-being of the participants.


Scientists are discovering and identifying new quassinoids in E. Longifolia, which can be used to combat cancer. Laboratory experiments show that the compounds are toxic to lung and cervical cancer cells in test tubes.

A review from 2018 identified 16 compounds in E. Isolated from different parts of the plant, longifolia displayed promising anti-cancer properties.

Another laboratory research found that quassinoids were extracted from E. Longifolia has been effective against prostate cancer cells in humans. However, testosterone therapy for prostate cancer is contraindicated by the Endocrine Society, so it is not advisable to use the plant for this disease.

Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects

Some review suggests that E. longifolia is effective against bacteria, including Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhi.

Extracts of the plant showed anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in test tube tests.

Risks and side effects

A 2016 review on the safety and toxicity of E. Longifolia has confirmed that, when used in therapeutic doses, it does not seem to have adverse effects on sperm in test tubes. Animal studies show, however, that it may be toxic at higher concentrations.

It was concluded in the same review that scientists consider E. Longifolia is healthy as long as it is not taken in high doses by people. With caution, the authors suggest taking 200-400 milligrams daily, especially if the individual is an older adult.

Individuals with hormonal cancers should be vigilant when taking E. Longifolia, as it can increase the level of testosterone. These effects may not be the same in the human body, although laboratory tests have shown beneficial effects.

People taking medications to lower their blood glucose should speak to their doctor before taking E. Longifolia, because the effects of these medications may increase.

Some reports, according to the study, advise individuals with certain conditions to avoid E. longifolia. These conditions include cancer, heart disease , and kidney disease. Individuals with compromised immune systems should be alert as well.


For multiple health conditions, Tongkat ali appears to be a successful solution. Some research indicates that male fertility, sexual performance, and stress are beneficial. It could also be an efficient ergonomic aid.

Some laboratory studies indicate the effectiveness of E. Anti-cancer longifolia in test tubes. Research also suggests, however, that individuals with such cancers should stop using it.

For those who have some health issues and others who are on different drugs, there are certain safety concerns. Hence, before taking any herbal supplements, a person should check with their doctor.